- SWAHILI BROAD CASTER
death robbed millionS OF Kiswahili listeners
of their outstanding and favourite broad caster
Zeyana Seif Al-Kharusy well known around the world as 'First Lady' on
BBC Kiswahili bulletin' - breathed her last on 29th December, 2008.
a broadcaster of international repute she was remarkably popular for
over half a century: as a news-reader, interviewer and producer of
entered into broad casting profession soon she left school in 1958 as
she joined 'Sauti ya Unguja' and immediately earned several thousand
fans for her dynamic news reading with her bright and attractive
death robbed more than ten million listeners of Kiswahili service of
their outstanding and favourite broadcaster.
was the December 1964 Zanzibar Revolution that made her emigrate to
England and in 1965 she joined BBC - Kiswahili Service as the first
and the only then, woman voice reading news.
remained with the service for more than half a century - during which
time she was dubbed 'First lady' on BBC Kiswahili bulletin.
Zeyana Seif Al-Kharusy
also had an impeccable command of English that made her an excellent
news translator from English into Kiswahili.
had obtained distinctions in English and English Literature in
Cambridge Secondary School Certificate -1957.
more than 50 years Zeyana established herself as a dedicated, devoted
and a highly talented broadcaster.
built for herself an indestructible monument in the hearts of not only
the Tanzania faminine media voice but also for her regular Kiswahili
listeners the world over.
was, indeed, the epitome of the feminine voice and broadcasting
practitioners who took her career as a crusading mission.
became the mentor of the Kiswahili feminine voice fraternity."
writer was exceptionally privileged to have a rare opportunity of
being interviewed by Zeyana over the Sauti ya Unguja
Broadcasting Station in 1959 on my maiden cultural travelogue to
at one of the slots, discussed on a dictum: 'Any dog could bark and
have its voice heard over a microphone.'
was an attempt to evaluate the appropriate qualities and
characteristics of a genuinely successful broadcaster; over and above
a good voice.
took this writer about fifty year later to meet Zeyana again, that was
in 1991 at Bush House, London where she took me around the studios and
arranged for me to be interviewed on my pet topics - Taarab Music and
Promotion of Kiswahili.
over the Kiswahili Service and in Focus on Africa - English slot.
in Zanzibar I was the guest of her elder brother - Sheikh Ahmed Seif
Kharusy from whom I gratefully enjoyed exceptional hospitality for a
full good month.
brother was a prominent Zanzibar journalist; owning his own press and
a fortnightly famous and articulate periodical - 'Mwongozi' -
actually a mouth piece of the political party - 'Hizbul Al-Watan to
which he was the general secretary.
several colleagues have paid glowing tribute to Zeyana:
Muhando: 'I used to enjoy listening to Zeyana before
joining broadcasting at Dar-Eslaam and admire her dynamic good voice.
BBC - Swahili Service - I came to meet Zeyana in person and to find
her to be a thorough lady, ever helpful, exceptionally generous, kind
hearted and good natured.'
Intetema: 'I regard Zeyana not only as my reliable
colleague but my great and affectionate mentor, indeed, my faithful
friend to whom I could divulge my personal problems.
and whenever she could, she would go out of her way to help me solving
was both kind and charming, assisting whoever came to her for a
Yahya, as the deputy head of the Swahili Service:
had the noble characteristics of a pragmatic broadcasting practitioner
- loyal, obedient, reliable, exceptionally hard working, strictly
punctual and she passionately and affectionately loved career and her
sudden death has saddened us all, at Bush House and all in our
Kassim: 'We are terribly sad to suddenly have lost not only
our great mentor but an affectionate, elder sister.
is an irreparable loss.
was a unique personality in many ways - a noble minded lady,
magnanimous, benevolent who was ever ready to offer a helping hand.
was a woman of her word, promising, remarkably punctual in fulfilling
Seif Al-Kharusy will remain in our hearts as an unforgettable
personality and indeed an epitome of a feminine voice of broadcasting
remarks of tribute to Zeyana have also been expressed by several
hundreds of her colleagues who came to know her at a professional
is survived with one son and two daughters.
Almighty Allah rest his soul in Paradise - Ameen.